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Pablo Schreiber: 'HALO' series explores Master Chief as warrior, hero

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Pablo Schreiber: 'HALO' series explores Master Chief as warrior, hero
Pablo Schreiber shows his face under the "HALO" helmet. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, March 23 (UPI) -- Pablo Schreiber said the streaming series, HALO, premiering Thursday on Paramount+, explores the inner conflicts of video game hero Master Chief. Schreiber plays Master Chief, the character Xbox players control.

"The relationship between the warrior and the hero, what are the similarities and where do they diverge, is what's really interesting for me," Schreiber said in a recent Television Critics Association Zoom panel.

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The story takes place in the year 2552. The United States Security Council has created Spartans to serve in the military, and Master Chief John-117 is one of the soldiers who have been enhanced for combat -- and had their memories repressed.

The Spartans wear iconic armor from the Xbox games. In the series, Master Chief takes off his helmet to earn the trust of new character Kwan Ha (Jerin Ha), whom he rescued from an alien attack on the planet Madrigal.

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Schreiber said he did not get far playing HALO on Xbox. However, he could watch the animated cinematic scenes between gameplay missions to research his role.

"I studied all the cinematics for the game," Schreiber said. "I looked at anything that's been established in terms of lore in the video game universe."

HALO tells a new story within the universe of the Xbox games. The security council orders Master Chief to kill Kwan because she was associated with a Madrigal insurrection, but he refuses.

Master Chief engages in combat with alien forces and other Spartans. Although much of the action in HALO draws on visual effects technology, Schreiber said he remains focused on Master Chief's story.

"Your preparation, obviously, is learning the story, becoming involved with the story," Schreiber said. "The depth of story and mythology that we have to draw from with the HALO universe is amazing."

Natascha McElhone plays another character from the HALO video games, Dr. Halsey, the creator of the Spartan program.

When Master Chief goes rogue, Halsey orders other Spartans to protect him from the security council. McElhone said the series explores the depth of Halsey.

"I'm definitely seeing her as someone who is misunderstood," McElhone said. "She's concerned it's all for the greater good and everyone will understand when they catch up."

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Woodbine plays Soren, a character from the HALO: Evolutions novel. In the show, Soren and John trained together before Soren went AWOL.

After he defies the security council, Master Chief seeks help from Soren. When they reunite, Soren has become a leader in the underground.

"He's an enterprising, innovative, hard-working, industrious man, not without some charm," Woodbine said. "And he's got his eye on the prize at all times."

Soren wears his own form of Spartan armor, too. However, in the underground, Soren didn't have access to a complete security council suit.

"I also have a certain amount of freedom in how I put it together," Woodbine said. "My character kind of piecemealed the parts that he thought were less cumbersome and important."

As the new character in the HALO world, Ha said Kwan has to take over the rebellion from her father, who died in the attack on Madrigal.

"We follow her on this journey of kind of filling her father's shoes and stepping into the leader role, protecting her people, her planet and trying to gain independence from Madrigal."

New episodes of HALO premiere Thursdays on Paramount+.

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